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Regulator sends improvement director sent to Southern Health

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An improvement director has been appointed to Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust by the regulator Monitor.

The move follows a critical report commissioned by NHS England into serious incidents at the trust from 2011 to 2015.

The report, published in December, found failings in the way the trust investigate serious incidents.

The report, carried out by audit firm Mazars, was commissioned after the preventable death of one of the trust’s patients, Connor Sparrowhawk, in 2013.

Monitor yesterday announced the undertakings that the trust would face, including the appointment of an improvement director and the trust’s acceptance of all the recommendations in the Mazars review.

Monitor regional director Claudia Griffith said: “We have taken action to ensure that Southern Health improves the way it investigates deaths among people with a learning disability and/or those who are experiencing mental illness.

“However, it is also clear that more work is needed across the NHS to identify and spread best practice for reporting and investigating deaths among people with a learning disability and/or mental illness,” she said.

“We have taken action to ensure that Southern Health improves the way it investigates deaths”

Claudia Griffith

Southern Health chief executive Katrina Percy, who has faced calls for her resignation, said the trust had let patients down, but significant improvements had already been made and there had been changes at board level.

In a paper presented to the trust’s board earlier this week, she said: “Southern Health’s board fully accepts that the quality of process for investigating and reporting patient deaths, while improving, needed to be better.

“In the past, investigations have not always been up to the high standards our patients, their families and carers deserved, with Mazars finding that 30% did not meet the required standard,” she said. “We are sorry that the grief of families has been heightened by our behaviour.

“Over the period in question we failed to consistently and properly engage families in investigations into their loved ones’ deaths and this is not good enough. We also recognise that the poor quality of our reports has meant we may have missed learning opportunities,” she added.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Stand down Katrina Percy - the line is no longer holding - do the right thing not because the old boys and girl network might be telling you otherwise, if the case do you really think they're thinking about you? Has the police & safeguarding been investigating senior management in such circumstances? Are these people not an indirect risk to those at risk in care? What of corporate negligence and willful blindness? Come on HSE surely you have a public obligation to protect us. Enough is enough surely or are ceo's immune?

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